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Florida, United States
Southern born, Southern reared. It's a quirky place and we are unique folk... These are my people and these are my stories.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday's Talk About the Book

Another blogger gives her (mighty fine) opinion of Chasing Sunsets. 
Just click on the "The Vessel Project" to be rerouted. 
Be sure to leave a comment! Bloggers like that (true me...)

Until tomorrow:

Eva Marie

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday's Recipe of the Week

After more than a year since her death, my brother and I went through Mother's recipe books. She had used Sexton "Daily Diaries," a common, thick book with wide lines I remember specifically from the 50s and 60s. I'm not sure of the date of the one I brought home because the cover is missing, as if January 1 and 2. But January 3 was a Saturday, so quite possibly from 1959.

Her first recording was for Spoon Bread, a staple in the South.

Enjoy; Betty was a "real good cook!"

1 cup corn meal
2 tbs. butter
1 pint water
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold milk

Stir corn meal into salted boiling water. Stir 1 minute and remove from heat. Add eggs and beat in cold milk. Beat again and pour into hot buttered baking dish. Bake 25 minutes at 450.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Musings on All Things Southern

Southern mama's are known for many things. The way they cook. They strength they hold deep within the core of them; it shows itself at various times. Some expected. Some odd. Their passion for life. For their spouse, house, and children. The touch they place in every room of the home. They are the cheerleaders at sporting events. They sit and wait in the car while their children take piano lessons and ballet lessons and during soccer practice ...or football and baseball. Or, they gather together and organize fund-raising events with the other parents. They are the backyard picnic-ers and the dining room hostesses.

I could go on and on... seriously. But there is one other fact I must share. They are the pray-ers. They pray over their lives with fierceness.

This weekend my brother and I made one last stab at cleaning out the final bookcases and closets of our mother's home. Within one of her Bibles we found a prayer list she had made, typed up, and apparently prayed over. Within the list were items concerning:

Her spiritual life (that her life be completely led by the Spirit).
Her physical body (that her renewed health remain so she could do the work of the Lord).
Her financial situation (she prayed both for the work to come and her ability to perform it).
Her emotional state (she asked God to teach her to relax more, to cast all her cares on Him).
Her family (that her children grow closer to each other and be drawn to a personal relationship with God, that we feel His presence, rely on His judgments, and for spiritual awakening).

I found the list and prayer. I read it out loud to my brother, then looked at him and said, "Do you realize every single prayer request was answered?"

"Every one," he affirmed.

To note, Mother prayed Malachi 3: 10,11 before and over the other requests.

If you are a mother (Southern or not) or, yes, a father, allow me to suggest you do the same. Find a verse of Scripture. Pray it over your circumstances. Type it out (or write it out), and keep it somewhere close by. Know that one day, this will be a legacy your children will make copies of, hold dear to their hearts.

And know that God is in the business of answering prayer...

One of the last things I whispered to my mother before she took her final breath was this, "Mother, you don't have to worry about Van and me anymore...we are so close now...and we are going to be fine. Go on...we'll be not too far behind..."

In her final moments, I believe she heard. It was the last answer she needed to receive on this earth. Praise Him for that...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's Southern Style Tunes

I missed yesterday's post. I apologize.
I was ... um... shopping with a friend.
Yeah. I do that sometimes. :)

I don't know if I have posted this before
and I may have.
But this morning my friend, who came and shopped with me,
and I were having coffee and talking about 
how much our children have grown since we first met.
Ten years at the very minimum.
And we both remembered this song.
So...enjoy...and hold those babies close.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday with Friends: "Roger Bruner"

Here's a couple of funny stories from my friend, Roger Bruner.

Roger writes:

I have two Southern tidbits I'd like to share with your readers. 
When my father attended Southern Seminary back during the 1940s, he and my mother heard so much King James Version Bible reading and praying that they started talking in thees and thous around their apartment. It became such a habit that they quit noticing that they were doing it.
But a cousin of my mother's noticed when she came to visit. "Do they make you talk that way at the Seminary?" 

She was incredulous, and she was serious.
In high school, I used to wait at the bus stop with a girl named Jean. One day when we were both high school seniors, she decided to be honest. Referring to my Southern drawl (I'd moved to Virginia from North Carolina), she said, "Roger, I really enjoy talking with you, but you just take too long to say anything."
People who say that to me now just mean I'm getting long-winded!

From Eva:  Thank you Roger. Love those stories! To know more about Roger and his work, go to: RogerBruner.com

Roger's Bio: Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church choir, praise team, Sonlight service, and nursing home ministry. Roger also enjoys reading, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen. Roger’s first young adult novel, Found in Translation, came out in January; the sequel, Lost in Dreams, comes out in August.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday's Talk About the Book

I am so pleased at the blogs for Chasing Sunsets.

Check some of them out with me!

VW Stitcher      

Ponderings by Andrea (includes the trailer)

I'd like to invite my blog readers to my Chasing Sunsets Facebook page. I'm uploading video from my most recent trip to C K...nearly done, so be patient with me...but I think you'll enjoy the pics as well!

Eva Marie

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday's Recipe of the Week

Spinach-Strawberry Salad*
by Kathleen Jackson & Tracey Davison


1 pound fresh baby-spinach leaves, washed thoroughly and dried well
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup Candied Almond Slivers
Betty's Special Dressing

To prepare:

Toss spinach, strawberries, and almond slices. Pour dressing over salad, and toss again. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftover portions. Yields 4 servings.

Candied Almond Slivers

1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup almond slivers

Butter a cookie sheet with sides; set aside. Heat sugar in a heavy frying pan (no Teflon) over medium heat until it melts and turns golden brown. Stir in almond slivers and remove from heat. Spread nuts thinkly on cookie sheet. Cool. Crumble. Store in airtight container.

Betty's Special Dressing

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine well. Serve over mixed greens or fruit salad. Refrigerate any leftover portion.

*Recipe from Betty Winslow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Southern Style Tunes

There's a new interest in 
the band Alabama
(probably thanks to Brad Paisley's hit "Old Alabama," which 
features music from the video you'll see below)

Anyway, enjoy one of the many things
the South has to be proud of.
Enjoy one of their best:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Musings on All Things Southern

One of the many walking and biking trails at Callaway
I saw a commercial this morning that showed a family riding bikes together. It brought back a fond memory of living near Callaway Gardens in Western Georgia, just outside Pine Mountain. Every other Saturday--or near about--my husband and I would pack up the kids and drive the 110 miles to what is truly one of the most beautiful locations on the map.

Azalea Bowl at Callaway Gardens
For those of you unfamiliar with the veritable Garden of Eden (with family fun), Callaway Gardens is a 13,000 acre resort of family-friendly riding and walking trails, a beach-front swimming area, Day Butterfly Center, Backyard Wildlife Center, Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden, Treetop Adventure and, of course, the Horticultural Center.

We had a lot of fun with our children during those outings--no matter the time of year. We swam in the summer, biked in the spring and fall, and enjoyed the entire holiday season experience in winter. I cannot remember a bad time, a bad moment, or a bad day at Callaway.

Callaway opened in 1952, designed to grow and protect native azalea species. And, Callaway continues to be known for those azaleas and other beautiful flowers. I'm not a BIG outdoors person, but I adored going to Callaway and looking at the varieties of flora, which changed with each season.

We had some fairly funny moments at Callaway. One in particular my husband has not let me forget. We were sitting on the beach--my rotten husband and I--watching our girls play in the water. Not too far from us a man wearing jeans and a tee dropped his beach-type gear before walking past us to the shoreline. He stepped directly past me; I looked down and noticed, of all things, the hair growing on his left big toe (no, that's not the funny part!). He tested the water, returned to his blanket, stripped out of his jeans (he was wearing bathing trunks underneath) and then pulled his tee over his head. Then he did the most amazing thing. He removed his left leg--foot, toe and all!

I looked at my husband as the young man hopped to the water's edge. "Look at that," I said. "The man has a prosthetic leg, but a real foot!"

What I said hit me the moment it left my mouth. I immediately remarked, "Wait...that's not possible..." (My parents didn't send me to nursing school for nuthin'!) But, in all these years, my adorable wonderful husband has not let it go.

Callaway Gardens Chapel
(The Ida Cason Calloway Memorial Chapel)
Another moment I remember--and there are so many--is the time we rented bikes and rode the trails we'd come to know so well. I always rode in front, my husband in back, our kids between us. About halfway was a place where you had to stop and wait for a ferry to come pick you up. As we pedaled toward it, I noticed another family waiting at the dock. The kids and my husband were soon next to me and said family when I heard my husband say, "Well, my goodness. Vince Dooley." The man turned our way, shook my husband's hand, and the two made short small-talk.

Now, I'm not one to watch football. Never have been and probably never will be, though I know it's like a religion in the South. But let me tell you. But I know who Vince Dooley is, even if I didn't know him on sight! (And, he and his wife have their own garden, a part of his home they shares with visitors.)

What about you? Any favorite family experiences such as these? Or, have you ever been to Callaway?

(To view luscious photos of Calloway, go to: Callaway Photographs

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday's Talk About the Book

I'm excited that several blogs have already posted about the book! If you have a moment (and, well my gracious, even if you don't!) would you take a minute to read them? Some may even offer a chance to win the book!

First up, Barbara Johnson (who also loves going to Cedar Key) has posted at her blog:

Kathy Harris's Divine Detour blog:

The Award-winning Novel Journey blog:

And Gail Pallotta's Peering Through Life's Window (in which I talk about finding refuge in a storm):

Chasing Sunsets is
Downloadable at:


I am on the road today...going from bookstore to bookstore, meeting managers, handing out my book, leaving some bookmarks, and hoping to meet anyone of you who just may happen to be in a Central Florida bookstore today for a little summer reading and to escape the heat.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Southern Style Tunes

My mother loved Ivan Parker.
When my brother was driving up to Asheville, NC--
after I'd called him and told him Mother had suffered a brain aneurysm--
he listened to many her Gaither CDs, and those
featuring Ivan Parker.

My brother said to me after he arrived,
"Have you noticed how many Gospel Songs talk
about death and dying??"


Thing is, this song reminds us of why death has lost its victory
and the grave its sting.
(1 Corinthians 15:55)


Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Musings on All Things Southern

This morning about ten-ish, my dogs wanted to go outside and frolic a while in the back yard. We have a large lawn; it slopes from the back of the house to a lake with a small beach front. Facing the lake and to my left is a cluster of pine trees that has become the roosting location for a family of bald eagles. Mother Eagle. Daddy Eagle and Master Eaglette. Not sure how old the eaglette is ...but he is sprouting a fuzzy white head, so he must be getting around three years old.

As my dogs ran around in the sunshine (that was growing hotter by the minute), I looked toward the trees and saw the eaglette. At the same time, he started singing his song (it really sounds more like a shriek, which is how I sing...). I stepped back inside, grabbed my camera, and returned to the yard.

On my way to the best place for taking the shots, I noticed the feather from a blue jay and the downy feather from a duck. I picked them both up, put them in my pocket, took the photographs, then called to "my girls," telling them it was time to go inside. It was just so hot!

Later today I taped the feathers onto the page of my journal. On the next page, I wrote:

I picked up the feathers because they remind me that we all leave evidence of having been here. Fingerprints that say we existed...

Last night I received a Facebook chat from a woman named Jeanne. She wrote, "I know your mother has been gone a year now and I just wanted you to know I think of you and of her often."

I didn't recognize the name so I asked, "You knew my mother?"

She wrote back, "Yes. On the night before she collapsed at the Blue Ridge conference last year, you and she were about to go for a walk and she invited me along. We talked about the cross on the hill."

I wrote: You showed us the peonies!

I have often wondered who the woman was my mother had invited to join us that evening. Had it not been for  Mother's friendly and inclusive nature, we would not have had the moments we had amongst a garden of just beautiful flowers. Jeanne knew them by name and talked to us about them. We took several pictures before we headed back to Mountain Laurel, where out rooms were.

Jeanne added last night, "Your mother was so kind to invite me. It told me so much about the kind of woman she was."

Fingerprints and feathers.

They identify us, don't they?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday with Friends: "Dorothy Love"

Remember Drive-in Theaters? 

You will after you read this:

A Night at the Movies—Southern Style
Dorothy Love

Driving through the mission district in San Antonio last weekend provided a chance for celebration and sadness. Celebration: a new public library, the Mission Reach branch had just opened and the parking lot was nearly full. A very good sign in a city in which a quarter of residents are illiterate.  But then, just a few blocks away, sadness. One of the last drive- in movie theaters in these parts is being torn down.

When I was girl growing up in a small Southern town, the drive- in was the place to be on hot summer nights. For a couple of dollars a family of five could  park in front of a giant screen, hook a speaker over the lowered car window glass and watch a double feature while sipping Cokes, and eating popcorn and Eskimo Pies.  Pure bliss!

During the mid 50’s, we saw everything from classics such as Twelve Angry Men, The Old Man and the Sea, Gunfight at the Ok Corral, Bridge on the River Kwai, and The Big Country to the improbable and supremely silly: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Teenage Monster, Queen of Outer Space, Rockabye Baby, No Time for Sergeants. Anyone remember seeing a movie called The Blob?
Of course I was intensely interested in the trailers for the movies my parents forbade me to see: Peyton Place, The Long Hot Summer, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Mild by today’s standards but very racy for the 50’s.

As I got a older, going to the drive- in was as much about seeing and being seen as it was about the movie. The drive- in was one of the few places in our tiny town where my friends and I could sit and talk and flirt with boys  and still have our parents keeping watch from the front seat of the Ford parked in the third row.  Even now, the smell of popcorn brings me back to those heady days.

The drive- in originated in New Jersey in the early 1930s. By 1950, almost four thousand of them dotted the landscape. But by 2003, the Boston Globe reported the number at 432. Undoubtedly there are even fewer now. Sure, it’s more comfortable to sit in an air-conditioned multiplex sipping on a ten dollar Coke, but I still miss those languid summer nights at the drive in, when the smell of popcorn, and young love, was in the air.

Want to know more about Dorothy Love? Click here: Southern History with Heart

Add your comments! What is your favorite (and keep it clean!) Drive-in memory?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday's Talk About the Book

I am excited to announce that Chasing Sunsets is featured at a couple of websites this week.

Check out my interview with Michael Ehret at: 


The official trailer/video for 
Chasing Sunsets
has been uploaded to YouTube.
Check it out for the first time
go on!
Watch it again!